Film Review: ‘Rigor Mortis’ (2013) – Justin Chang Wasn’t Impressed, But Other Critics Were

Exactly what happened to drive Yeung Fang mad is revealed, sort of, in one of many violent flashbacks — several of which also bedevil Chin, whose suicidal impulses likely stem from his separation from his wife and son. But Mak, who seems to have interpreted the concept of “hopping vampires” as an excuse to jump between subplots as haphazardly as possible, doesn’t seem especially interested in investigating his protagonist’s psychological wounds. The director appears far more taken with the two demonic twin sisters haunting Chin’s apartment, their long, face-masking hair and bloody tendrils showing the clear influence of one of Mak’s fellow producers, J-horror maven Takashi Shimizu (“The Grudge”).

-From Justin Chang’s review in Variety.com of “Rigor Mortis”.

Have you ever read a pretty unenthusiastic review for a movie you were really looking forward to seeing, and find your desire to see it has only lessened by about 5%? Well, that happened for us in the case of this pretty tepid review for Juno Mak’s Rigor Mortis, which boasts an amazing trailer, clips, credentials, and set-up. We’re still going to see it (though hearing a scary movie described as ‘tedious’ usually is a buzz-kill). We maybe won’t go way out of our way to see it, just wait for the rental fee to go down (of course, we managed to miss it at SIFF, unintentionally).

You might want to check out this review at Beyond-Hollywood.com, which basically said it had the same problems but that the good outweighed the bad. So there.

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The Grudge (2004) – VERY Scary Apartment Scene Will Make You Sleep With The Lights On! (HD)

NOTE: Yes, this is a re-print of an article originally published on November 26, 2012. Why a re-run, you ask? Due to missing over a week of postings in late May (got kicked in the ass by pneumonia and the unexpected death of a good friend) things got pretty sparse here as everything else went out the window at the time …so I’m filling them in (and back-dating them for the days we were on the disabled list) in with cool stuff and postings you may have missed the first time they were printed, because I hadn’t fully understood how to publicize properly back then.. Enjoy.

HORROR BOOM

When someone dies in the grip of a powerful rage…

It’s almost impossible to pick the ten–hell, I’d have to really apply myself to get it down to twenty– scariest scenes or moments from the Ju-On (AKA The Grudge) series, let alone the scariest. OK, that’d be the stair-crawl,  but you get the idea. However, I’m pretty sure that this scene would probably make the top ten. Full of creepy moments (seeing Toshio pass by the elevator on EVERY goddamn floor, seeing your husband through the peephole and opening the door to the sight of an empty hall), Shimizu saves the best scare in the scene for last.

We doubt it’s necessary to sell you on Asian horror knowing exactly how to scare you and stand out from 90% of US horror films, but the idea of not even being safe in your own (formerly) cozy warm bed, with…

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The Grudge (2004) – VERY Scary Apartment Scene Will Make You Sleep With The Lights On! (HD)

When someone dies in the grip of a powerful rage…

It’s almost impossible to pick the ten–hell, I’d have to really apply myself to get it down to twenty– scariest scenes or moments from the Ju-On (AKA The Grudge) series, let alone the scariest. OK, that’d be the stair-crawl,  but you get the idea. However, I’m pretty sure that this scene would probably make the top ten. Full of creepy moments (seeing Toshio pass by the elevator on EVERY goddamn floor, seeing your husband through the peephole and opening the door to the sight of an empty hall), Shimizu saves the best scare in the scene for last.

We doubt it’s necessary to sell you on Asian horror knowing exactly how to scare you and stand out from 90% of US horror films, but the idea of not even being safe in your own (formerly) cozy warm bed, with the covers pulled up to your chin? If that isn’t the stuff of nightmares, we don’t know what is.

Name That (Horror) Frame – Week of 10/21/12 – Special J-Horror Edition!

Ten more days till Halloween, Halloween, Halloween (Silver Shamrock)!  I actually saw Halloween 3 – Season of the Witch  in the theater with my mom. I was young enough that my memory is kind of fuzzy, but I remember the evil mask scene and the ending pretty well. That jingle got stuck in my head for life! Anyway…

Okay, first of all, none of these are from Ju-On/The Grudge   (I’ll have a new gallery for Ju-on   coming up soon, though – check out my last one if you’re in a Kayako-kinda mood). These are all J-Horror, but they’re not all from the same horror movie – just the same franchise. There’s three installments. All three of them have pretty goddamned scary scenes, but the first is still my favorite. Anyway, if you’re a fan of any of the installments, I think you’ll be able to figure it out –comment away! Those DVDs (all in great condition) are still waiting on a winner…

First up, here’s a scary-ass thing to see talking on the phone… especially if the other person blows you off!

Oh, stop kidding around! There’s nothing behind me…

You’ll REALLY recognize the franchise fast if you recognize this one. Also, if you saw it and don’t remember it …you must have missed this scene!

and finally…

You know, the picture quality is not one is kind of rinky-dink, so here’s a bonus photo (same franchise):

So! Put your guesses in the comments section – and by the way, a shitty US remake was made of the first installment of the series. They managed to somehow take a great set-up and just destroy it. Oh well, if they can fuck up a remake of Shutter,  I guess it’s no big shocker.

Happy Monday!

Ten MORE Trailers to Keep You Awake (The Sequel)! #1 – Ju-On (2002)

When I made the first list of Ten Trailers To Keep You Awake,  I held a few back. There’s a TON of scary-ass trailers out there. When searching for the right version to embed in my posts, I’d come across at least ten more frightening ones, knowing there was going to be a sequel to that little series. Funny thing–most of the horror trailers on this second go-round are Asian.

This Ju-On trailer (for the original 2002 theatrical release – first came two made-for-TV Ju-On movies) doesn’t have English subtitles. Doesn’t need them. Trust me. How the fuck anyone in Japan who saw this trailer was brave enough to go see the movie in the theater, I have no idea. My skin crawls even watching this in the daytime on my laptop, using the small You Tube viewer the size of an index card; not even half-screen, let alone full screen.

I even considered saving this for last, it’s so frightening …but hey, the week-end is coming up, who needs sleep, right?

wake uuu-uuup…

 

Name that (Horror) Frame Contest- Week of 8/12/2012!

OK, Here’s the round-up for this week! Besides the other DVDs in the giveaway, I’ve new added the UNRATED, Uncensored, uncut version of Adam Green‘s Hatchet  to the mix. Best place to put your guesses/answers is in the comments section.

First up,  I’m hoping this looks familiar to someone (I think it may have even been in the theatrical trailer, so there)!

This one isn’t too complicated (at least I HOPE not)! Major theatrical release.

Okey dokey… this one’s a bit harder…

To be fair, this is from an alternate ending, but you SHOULD be able to recognize her and the movie title if you know your J-horror!

And last but not least: Most will remember Mr. Carl Rimbaldi as the FX wizard who won as Oscar for creating E.T. and a second one for Special Effects for  the original Alien (I believe it was mostly for all the work done on  the animatronic head, with the additional set of sharp teeth, the mouth/jaw within-a-mouth)!  However, we genre fans may also be more likely to recall his work in Dario Argento’s Deep Red (Profoundo Rosso). I actually recall the first time I saw a Dario Argento film–Deep Red, in my case–more clearly and even more fondly than when I saw E.T.*   Mr. Rimbaldi was also responsible for the makeup/FX in another horror movie –the one that the below still is from (late 1980s). Can you identify it?

This one is a tribute to the memory of Carlo Rimbaldi, who passed away at his home in Italy a few days ago (as of this writing). RIP, Mr. Rimbaldi.

He also received a special Academy Award for the visual effects in  King Kong (1976). That award was shared with Glen Robinson and Frank Van der Veer. Mr Rimbaldi will be missed!

Any takers?  Remember those DVDs you can win! Happy Monday, if that’s not an oxymoron.

*My main memories of seeing E.T. in the theater are that I went on what my very naïve young mind thought was my first date. I was so young I hadn’t started crying at movies yet. I remember that, during the scene in the evil shitty government agency that had taken E.T. where E.T. is very, very weak and sad, I looked over and saw with unease that my “date'”was crying so hard that he was wiping snot from his nose (and he’d hit puberty, too). The scene was pretty sad, I’m not a sociopath, but I was old enough to know the movie was going to have a happy ending because half the audience in the theater was under age 10. Great special effects, though, enough so it didn’t sit there wondering how they did it …just watching it and buying into it completely so I could focus on the movie.

Chills to Beat Summer Heat, Part Two – Ju-on: White Ghost (Shiroi Rôjo)

Happy August! Need some cooling down?

Ju-on: White Ghost / Black Ghost (Ju-on: Shiroi Rôjo / Ju-on: Kuroi Shôjo)are actually two movies that were made/released together in 2009 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the first Ju-On release, Since the first full-length, DTV Ju-On feature was released in Japan in 2000, I assume Takashi Shimizu started counting when his first Ju-On-themed shorts, Katasumi and 4444444444 (shown during a TV movie and containing the first-ever appearance of Kayako and Toshio) aired.

For Ju-On fans, it’s a must. Kayako doesn’t show up, but the movie still offers plenty of chills,  several memorable jolts, and images that could likely pop up in your nightmares long after the viewing.

This creepy entry contains plenty of familiar Ju-On themes: a non-linear storyline that doesn’t really form a complete picture in your mind until near the ending, a male family member who loses his shit pretty suddenly (fast enough that his family don’t have time to realize he’s going to hurt or kill them, and get the fuck out of the house and/or call the police), creeping black hair that grows… and grows… and grows, blurry figures that aren’t supposed to be there appearing or passing by in the background, unseen by characters, a minimal score (it’s no easy task for a film-maker to create an ominous, increasing sense of dread with total silence), and of course …the Ju-On Death Rattle.®

As soon as the delivery kid walks in, we know something’s off (he doesn’t look too confidant, either). His discoveries are at first only confusing,  but quickly become unsettling. The sense of wrong-ness is so pervasive I (and most horror/Ju-on fans, probably) would have left the cake and gotten out within two minutes tops, and if the bakery had to take the cost of the cake out of my pay, then fuck it, fine with me. But of course, he’s concerned, and has to explore…

So here’s the first ten minutes of Ju-On: White Ghost.

If you like the style, I definitely recommend seeing the whole movie. For Ju-On fans, it’s a must. Kayako doesn’t show up, but the movie still offers plenty of chills, several memorable jolts, and images that could likely pop up in your nightmares long after the viewing. One ghost was so frightening looking I screamed (surprising the hell out of myself) when the camera first revealed her, and usually it takes a blast of music or a noise along with a scary image to make me scream, and that’s in the theater. This was at home. The second movie, Black Ghost, isn’t bad either, but I found White Ghost to have more of a Takashi Shimizu vibe and closest to the Ju-on spirit (har).  If you have Netflix streaming, it’s there for you to watch in HD  (better quality, and subtitles than this clip). You might want to get your chills in before it’s dark out, though…

Here’s the longest trailer I could find for Ju-on: White Ghost / Black Ghost (Ju-on: Shiroi Rôjo / Ju-on: Kuroi Shôjo).

Summer Heat Wave? Get Your Chills On With Ju-On Gallery #2

Well, my cough is almost gone, but I have a strange, unpleasant style of hangover from being on over-the-counter cold/cough medicine for over a week. I felt more or less normal when I took it the first week (probably because I made sure it didn’t have any of the crystal meth ingredients ending in “phrine” in it before I put it in my body the first time).  I took two of the tablets (supposed to take one of these doses every 4 hours) on our way to go see Magic Joe Manganiello  Magic Mike *,  and during the closing credits of the movie I suddenly began to feel very weird and nervous.*  Then I discovered (in the tiniest print ever) on the instructions the words do NOT use for more than seven days continuously. Since I was on day 8 or 9, that explained that. Well, shit. I immediately ‘discontinued’ the cold/flu remedy (also per the instructions). Since I stopped about 36 hours ago, I’ve felt better flu-wise (other than a nagging, dull rebound headache from all the Tylenol), but all cloudy and fuzzy, and not the good kind of dreamy-cloudy that seeing the routines in Magic Mike (which was definitely not caused by any kind of chemical unless you count hormones) and mentally clumsy, clunky, and foggy. I was barely able to follow the plot of the regular Thursday new installment of the free web comic Crossed:Wish You Were Here;  the weekly series is very twisted, but not overly-complicated.

…it’s been pretty warm out lately, and just looking at many of these may give someone the illusion of the temperature dropping. I didn’t know it was possible to get goosebumps in 80 degree heat, but apparently, that’s where Takashi Shimizu and of course, Ms. Takako Fuji come in to lend a hand!

I’m surprised I even pulled this intro together. My IQ took a significant drop. I just realized I kept meaning to watch the two sneak preview clips on HBO.com for this Sunday’s True Blood, but never quite screwed two brain cells together long enough to do it.  Hooked as I am, that never happened before (that I can recall, my memory is worse than usual, too). When I tried to write something more complicated than a retweet. I could barely finish my sentences in my own head. I have a couple reviews of movies that turned out to be terrible almost ready to “press”***, but I don’t want to post two negative reviews in a row. So until my slow-witted head clears up, I have another Ju-On gallery I put together.

Now would be a good time to GTFO, Kobayashi…

I don’t own the rights to any of the stills from the Japanese movies themselves, I just think they’re amazing …and creepy as shit. Also, it’s been pretty warm out lately, and just looking at many of these may give someone the illusion of the temperature dropping. I didn’t know it was possible to get goosebumps in 80 degree heat, but apparently, that’s where Takashi Shimizu and of course, Ms. Takako Fuji come in to lend a hand!

From the original TV movie, aired in Japan in 2000.

This time, I also included some very unsettling images from the two Ju-On movies: Ju-on: Shiroi rôjo  (The Grude: Old Lady in White) and Ju-on: Kuroi shôjo  (The Grudge: Black Ghost).   These were filmed in 2009, and weren’t released in the US until 2011 as a package deal: Ju-On: White Ghost/Black Ghost. They aren’t direct sequels, and only one member of the Saeki family makes an appearance, but they definitely take place in the same universe as the rest of the Ju-On series.  Kayako may not show up (unless you count a very distinctive croak/death rattle, but I still found both movies (especially the first) badly frightening. Oh, and at some unknown point, I learned how to mimic the Kayako ‘death rattle’ perfectly. Not in time to scare anyone else with it, just enough to give myself a nightmare that I was imitating the noise while surfing the net, stopped, then heard it coming from behind me. Then I bolted awake! I fell back to sleep in less than a minute …but I think it says a lot about the staying power and effectiveness of a true horror movie when you get a nightmare based on it after you haven’t even watched it in months. That’s during cheerful daylight, with my husband reading the paper in the next room. And I jumped …then decided I was sitting much too close to the TV.

From the “Black Ghost” second half of the recent Ju-on: White Ghost/Black Ghost (2009)

One of Toshio’s two “cameos” from Ju-On: WGBG (2009)

The first of several genuine jump scares from Ju-On: Old Lady in White (2009)

From the English version (I know, duh) 2004

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